Nearly 600,000 over-75s will miss out on free TV licences because they have not registered for the Government’s Pension Credit scheme
- BBC is restricting licence fee benefit to pensioners who receive Pension Credit
- Charity Age UK said an estimated 590,000 over-75 households set to lose out
- Said take-up of credit, which boosts weekly income, was ‘stagnant’ on last year
Hundreds of thousands of over-75s will lose out on a free TV licence because they have not signed up for Pension Credit, a charity warned last night.
From June, the BBC is restricting the licence fee benefit to only the poorest pensioners who receive a weekly top-up to their income.
But Age UK said an estimated 590,000 over-75 households that were losing out on pension credit were now also set to miss out on avoiding the TV charge.
An estimated 590,000 over-75 households will lose out on a free TV licence because they have not signed up for Pension Credit, Age UK has warned (file image)
The charity said take-up of the credit – a tax-free benefit that boosts weekly income for people over state pension age – was ‘stagnant’ on last year.
The BBC is taking on the responsibility for funding free licences for the over-75s from the Government. As part of this, it is scaling back the benefit to only those on Pension Credit.
Age UK warned it will be the most vulnerable older people on low incomes and those battling loneliness, ill health and disabilities that will be ‘hit hardest’ on the licence fee changes.
The BBC is taking on the responsibility for funding free licences for the over-75s from the Government and is scaling back the benefit to only those on tax-free benefit (file image)
Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director at Age UK, said: ‘It’s very clear from today’s figures that much more needs to be done to make sure the poorest pensioners get the financial help they’re entitled to.’
She added: ‘What’s more, those who aren’t claiming Pension Credit or are living just above the Pension Credit means tested level, are set to face horrible decisions over whether they can afford to continue to watch TV at all from 1st June.
‘It’s completely wrong to put the oldest people in our society through this. We urge the Government to act now to broker a deal with the BBC to put millions of anxious older people’s minds at rest.’